Sanitary Protection: VAT

Treasury written question – answered on 19th October 2020.

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Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what comparative assessment he has made of the effect of VAT rates from January 2021 on the affordability of reusable menstrual underwear and other female hygiene products.

Photo of Fay Jones Fay Jones Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his Department devised its definition of women’s sanitary products qualifying for the reduced rate of VAT from January 2021; and whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of including reusable menstrual underwear within that definition.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The zero rate for women’s sanitary products announced in the March 2020 Budget will apply from 1 January 2021 to those products which are currently subject to the reduced rate of 5 per cent. This covers the supply of any sanitary protection product that is designed and marketed solely for the absorption or collection of menstrual flow or lochia, whether disposable or reusable. The relief excludes dual purpose period and incontinence products, items of clothing such as reusable menstrual underwear, or purely incontinence products.

The new zero rate will ensure that every woman needing sanitary protection during their monthly cycle will, from the start of January and for the first time, have access to a variety of zero rated sanitary protection products on which they had previously paid a 5 per cent rate of VAT.

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